‘We need to be strong for each other’

Ottawa Citizen – September 21, 2013

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Families came out to the vigil held at the Fallowfield Transitway station following the fatal bus/train collision which took place earlier on Wednesday, September 18, 2013.
Photograph by: James Park, Ottawa CitizenRe: Candles, prayers on offer, Sept. 19.

I extend my deepest condolences to those families who lost loved ones in the tragic bustrain accident that shook our city this week. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and suffering they now endure, and the hole in their hearts that will forever remain unfilled.

I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to the first responders, emergency personnel, paramedics, police officers, doctors and nursing staff for quickly taking care of our city during those hours of need. We rely so heavily on these individuals when these terrible things happen, and I’m grateful for their bravery and professionalism in the wake of such a tragedy. A heartfelt thank you to Mayor Jim Watson for his staunch leadership, councillors Jan Harder and Steve Desroches for their dedication and communication, Premier Kathleen Wynne for providing support all the way from Queen’s Park, and all our local MPs and MPPs for stepping in and being there for constituents.

I’ve lived in Barrhaven for nearly 27 years; it is the only home I’ve ever known. I was born here, raised here and have now built a life of my own here, including co-owning and operating a local business, which allows my staff and I the opportunity to serve our amazing community. In the aftermath of Wednesday’s collision, the first thing clients asked upon arrival was, “Are you and your family okay?” I was almost taken aback by the outpouring of support, not only for those directly affected by what happened, but towards everyone. This tragedy has affected us all, as Barrhavenites, as Ottawans, as neighbours and as friends.

I travel aboard OC Transpo, towards our downtown core every morning. I was, thankfully and luckily, not on that 76 Express bus that collided with the Via Rail train. But its impact has been felt by the entire city. As I returned to Barrhaven that night, I couldn’t help but think of those families who wouldn’t have their loved ones return home, as they used to do every day.

There were 14 people – mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children – at my bus stop on Thursday morning. The mood was unmistakably sombre, and an air of hesitation hung over us as the doubledecker bus rolled up and the automatic doors swung open before our eyes. We all climbed in, one by one, and took our seats. Fears aside, we all knew, silently, that we need to be strong for each other, for those families who mourn, and for our beloved Barrhaven.

Ashley Martyn, Owner
Barrhaven Music Academy

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